Before we begin, let's take a look at that graphic above. It says," Word of Life ". Many over simplify this topic, and without any basis in fact, say that the Bible is the word of God. In reality, the New Testament contains 3 forms of the word of God. Remember that the New Testament wasn't written in English. With one possible exception, the entire New testament was written in Greek. In any case, the New Testament has come down to us in Greek, but has been translated into Latin, German, English, and many other languages.
When the Bible reads " Word of God ", and means to be conveying a teaching from God, it is a translation of a form of logos,- a teaching from God. When the Bible reads " Word of God " and means to convey a saying of God, it is a translation of a form of rhema,- a saying from God. Only when the Bible reads "scripture", is it talking about a writing from God. These things are important, and are frequently mis taught, or not taught at all in Bible schools.
Don't expect to receive, and believe, this message, if you are unwilling to believe in God, as the Creator of the universe, and your own personal Creator, as we find in Jeremiah 44:2, and elsewhere.
If you explore the teaching of 20 different churches, on what it takes to get to heaven, or to get born again, or "saved". You will likely get 20 different teachings. The obvious conclusion is that at least 19 must be wrong, and maybe all of them are wrong. All claim to be using the Bible, so probably they, either don't know exactly what the Bible says, or how to use it correctly.
It is important to check our English Bible translations against the original languages,- Hebrew in the Old Testament, and Greek in the New Testament. This sounds difficult, but there are resources in virtually any Christian book store, or on the internet, that makes this easy. Whether, or not, you take the time, or effort, to do this may effect your eternal destiny. If you don't think this is important, read the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
Referring to the end times, Jesus said in Matthew 24:13,14 " he who endures to the end shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. " There are at least 25 other scripture references that indicate that if a person is to be saved, it will be at death, or when Christ returns, not when someone says a "sinner's prayer" or is baptized in water. When you read, or convey scripture, it is important to look at the adverbs, which go with terms related to salvation. WILL, SHALL, and MAY, are all adverbs that answer the question when, and refer to the future ! And, something that is TO BE, is obviously something that is to occur in the future.
This subject is covered in more detail, with all the scripture references, on this page:
Saved At Judgment
It is written in Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any many should boast." When you hear those scriptures read, the emphasis is usually on the "saved" and not on the source of salvation,- God ! Some of the new modern Bibles use " have been saved " rather than "are saved," or "are being saved", so that they will have a greater appeal to the now generation, who wants everything now, without any effort on our part. Salvation is not by the works of the law, but when a person is born again, they will have good works. This is covered throughout the entire New Testament book of James !
In verse 10, of Ephesians 2,- the very next verse, it says, "For WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Notice that it says we are His workmanship, not our own. That's what Jesus meant, when He said that we must be born again. Look deeper, and you'll find it says that we must be born from above, in other words born of God !
You might wonder, " When did evangelists begin to tell those, who came forward at their meetings, that they were saved? " Up until about 1900, very few evangelists did this. Godly evangelists never boasted of the number, that they had led to Christ. Early evangelists like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, John Wesley, R.A.Torrey, George Whitfield, Charles Spurgeon, and many others, all emphasized the need to be changed,- to be BORN AGAIN,- BORN OF GOD. The present day practice of telling those who come forward to the altar, that they are saved, appears to have begun with Billy Sunday around the year 1900. Today, nearly all pastors, preachers, and evangelists, have allowed themselves to be carried away with this un-Biblical practice. There is an excellent video, that provides detailed information about this phenomenon, on the internet, at the You Tube website. The topic is " The Graham Formula."
Click here, to go directly to this video of The Graham Formula.
The Graham Formula
It says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ( or KJV a new creature ); old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." There are many around us, who think they are " in Christ " or " saved " but who have not been re-created.
To properly understand salvation, one must understand that only those, who are real Christians, have been re-created, (born again). This is much deeper than a church invitation or other ceremony. Salvation is not a human work. It is a work of God. It is recorded in John 1:11-13, " He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But, as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIS NAME, WHO WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN , BUT OF GOD ! "
Also, to understand salvation, one must understand the New Covenant, which Jesus talked about at the Lord's supper, and is recorded in Matthew 26:27,28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, and 1st Corinthians 11:25,- stating something like this: " For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins."
Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant. 1st Timothy 2:5," For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus " and Hebrews 9:14,15 " How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those, who are called, may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. "
You can find out more about the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34. "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ' Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Also refer to Ezekiel 11:19,20, " Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. "
And also, Ezekiel 18:31.32," Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. " Therefore turn and live !"
And, Ezekiel 36:26,27," I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."
Was this new covenant opened up to the Gentiles also? There are many scriptures that indicate this. This appears to have begun at the house of Cornelius when Peter was sent to them. Read about it in Acts 10:44,45.
Lest anyone think I am talking about works, or the Old Covenant, read and ponder all of Hebrews chapter 8. The new heart and the new human spirit,- that's what Jesus meant, when He said that we must be born again!
To have the hope of salvation, you need a new heart ( inner person ) and a new human spirit. Only God can give you that !
How do you approach God to get these things? You get alone with Him somewhere, and ask Him to take away your old heart of stone, and give you a new heart that wants to serve Him. Ask Him to make you what He wants you to be. And, keep on asking until you find that you have been changed.
Would you like to know more about the return of Jesus Christ?
Check out this page:
Jesus Is Coming Soon!